[identity profile] leen-go.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] leengonanowrimo
Length: 2649 words
Prompt: in simplified terms, Kris is a duke, Lay is a courtesan who has a jaded view on life and has trust issues.
Notes: see here. Unedited/unbeta-ed. idek halp what is this fic anymore

Yifan slouched into his seat, vacated only minutes ago when the duke had hugged his mother. Wait here, she’d ordered, explaining how she’d convinced the general to have breakfast together before they were to go home. A chance to repair relations.

The Duke didn’t know what relations needed repairing but he didn’t object; he’d upset enough people already and he didn’t need to add the General to the list. When his mother left him alone to reflect on his actions, the same servant that Minseok had pointed to outside to take his place entered, drawing a defeated sigh from Yifan as he imagined what it might take for his favourite manservant to forgive him. He glowered a moment at the replacement, realizing that his mother meant for the servant to keep an eye on the Duke and keep him from running out again.

It was a while before a stream of sunlight streamed through the window and a second servant came in to whisper something to the first. Yifan followed the servant’s gestures out the door and towards the breakfast room where he found the General in surprisingly good spirits; Yifan had seen how much wine the General had been drinking and that had been before the Duke had escaped the party.

“Are you feeling better, then?” the General asked with a smile when he’d stood up straight from his bow.

“Better?” Yifan slipped, before recalling that he’d cited being tired from work as his excuse to leave the party last night. He cleared his throat with a glance at Ah Mei who raised an eyebrow subtly in encouragement. “Ah, yes. Much better. Just needed a good night’s sleep is all.”

The General nodded with understanding, holding his hands behind him as he continued. “Of course. It was just a shame that you had to miss such a lovely party last night.”

Realising that everyone was waiting for the Duke, Yifan took a seat and gestured for his guests to follow suit. Silence fell over the table for a moment before the Duke’s mother’s arrival was announced. Yifan stood up abruptly to pull her seat out for her, earning him a weary roll of the eyes that made him grin; at least his mother had calmed down enough to bother rolling her eyes at him.

Breakfast was filled with the usual pleasantries and Yifan spent much of it with a polite smile as he waited for his mom to inevitably suggest that she and the General give Yifan and Ah Mei some private time. The Duke turned to his fiancé with the same polite smile he’d worn through bites of rice and vegetables, asking if she’d like to take a walk with him, “It’s pretty nice out. And that way, my mother and your father can stay here to chat if they’d like.”

Ah Mei nodded in agreement, getting to her feet and gesturing subtly to her father who waved her off with a smile, “Take your time, Daughter. The Duke’s Mother and I shall wait for you here.”


Yifan waited until the same gazebo where they had first chatted so many nights ago before he stopped, turning around to his servants to give them space for a private  conversation. “I’m terribly sorry for last night,” he spilled as soon as Ah Mei was seated across from him at the marble table set.

Ah Mei smiled gently as she straightened her sleeves with a quiet and indifferent hum, “I was the one to suggest your departure. Please do not apologize,” she started before hesitating a moment, “But, if I may be so bold to ask, how was your venture with the shop keeper?”

Ah Mei’s voice was politely curious, but Yifan could detect a slight spark in her eyes and he furrowed his brow in suspect of what she might be thinking. He shrugged dismissively, “It was alright,” he deflected, keen on turning the conversation off himself.

“So you managed to tell your shopkeeper how important he is to you?”

Yifan’s eyes widened slightly in surprise, “Why are you so interested in this topic?” he asked, hoping his tone didn’t give away his discomfort; he was sure his fiancé wasn’t the person he should be talking to about the courtesan with a cut on his hand.

Ah Mei contemplated the question for a moment, “Your Grace should be able to speak comfortably with me, since we are to be wed, even if Your Grace is…” The rest of the sentence trailed into nothing as lines creased into her forehead.

The eyebrows on Yifan’s face remained raised as he pondered what the end of her thought had been, wondering if she knew something about what he himself wasn’t even sure about.

“Could I ask for a favour?” Ah Mei piped up again, voice almost a whisper.

“Oh?” Yifan let slip unconsciously; he was surprised at the request, trying to recall when anyone had last dared to ask a duke for a favour.

“I mean, I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but there was just something I wanted to check…”

Yifan couldn’t help but let out a chuckle at the strange request but obliged anyway, “Of course I suppose. What can I do to hel-?” His eyebrows shot up into his forehead as the end of his question was cut off by a pair of soft lips on his own. Ah Mei’s kiss lingered only a second before she pulled away, drawing the ‘p’ from Yifan as she stepped back, lifting a finger to her lips, red creeping into her cheeks.

“Uh…” Yifan mumbled, still startled from the motion even as he took in the contemplative look on Ah Mei’s face. “That was…?” he managed to string together, incompletely.

Ah Mei looked up as though she had forgotten she had company, jumping on the spot before dropping to her knees to bow apologetically. “Please forgive this humble servant of yours, my Lord! I didn’t-”

The drastic change in Ah Mei’s behavior disturbed the Duke’s state of shock and he blinked a couple times before he hurried to bring his fiancé back to her feet. “Please don’t apologize! I’m not mad, I was just… alarmed is all. Please get up, it would be most unfortunate to get such a beautiful dress dirty. And how would I explain it to your father?” He added with a half chuckle to lighten the mood. When Ah Mei still averted her eyes as she took a seat once more, Yifan cleared his throat, fingers clenching and then unclenching again to come up with a way to diffuse the tension. “So, uh… you were asking about that shop owner?” He paused to glance at Ah Mei, who was chewing on her bottom lip. Yifan took a deep breath, “Well, uhm. I guess uh…” he continued uneasily, not sure how to keep the conversation going.

Ah Mei finally straightened up, looking up with a smile again, even if it looked a little forced. “We were, uh, talking about if you’d told him he was important to you?” she offered, ears still flushed a bright red.

Yifan hesitated a moment before he answered, almost eager to take the focus of their conversation away from what has just transpired between them; how could he tell her that he felt nothing from the kiss of his fiancé. “Well,” he started uneasily, “I tried, I think. But I’m not sure it was very well received?” he finished, as though in a question as the argument of the previous night replayed in his head.

“‘You tried, you think?’” Ah Mei repeated, a little incredulous for Yifan’s tastes. “What do you mean you tried? Just tell him,” she amended with a tone of authority that startled the Duke; that’s twice today already.

The eyebrows on Yifan’s face sore into his forehead, “I’m not sure how I can just tell him. Isn’t there some sort of way I need to ease into it?” he asked; maybe Ah Mei could just tell Yixing for him instead, since she seemed so sure of how easy it was supposed to be.

Ah Mei got to her feet, stretching her arms out a little in front of her and Yifan could’ve almost sworn that she rolled her eyes slightly before nudging her head towards the main building to suggest they head back. “I know Father asked that we take our time but I’m sure he some important matters to attend to at home. Shall we?”

Yifan nodded, getting up to join Ah Mei and starting towards the house once more.

“Will I ever have the good fortune to meet this shop owner that means so much to you?” Ah Mei asked, tone dropping as the Duke’s servants returned to their positions behind them.

Yifan missed a step, almost tripping as he hesitated before deigning to tell the truth, “Well, you’ve already met him.”

Ah Mei turned up to look at Yifan with confused eyebrows sloping upwards to each other, clearly baffled by the statement.

Yifan tucked his hands behind his back as he eyed the trailing servants. He leaned down towards his fiancé to whisper, “Perhaps another time then,” he smiled. Despite his initial alarm at Ah Mei’s assertiveness and self-confidence around a duke, it was refreshing to have someone who wasn’t his mother (or Minseok before he had taken to ignoring YIfan) to not tiptoe on eggshells around him.

Yixing sighed loudly as he dropped his chin into his palm, elbow resting on the bannister on the second level as the courtesan watched the candles on the first floor blow out as the focus turned to the stage; Pearl had found her new favourite. Chewing the nails on his other hand, he tried to forget the sheet he’d ripped up in anger so long ago. Dancing on that stage was supposed to be the ticket to freedom and yet here he was, back to square one. Yixing was starting to wonder if he was ever getting away from The Star.

In the dimly lit building, Yixing barely noticed the figure that had appeared next to him, silent as a ghost. He let out a tiny yelp in alarm, glad that the sound coincided with the beginning of the music on stage and hoping it was enough to hide his surprise. He curtsied, though he doubted that it was noticed since the Duke hadn’t bothered to turn to face him, “Your Grace. What a pleasant surprise,” he recited, well-rehearsed from this morning when he’d promised himself to continue with business as usual, no matter what had happened previously. He straightened himself, turning to face the Duke fully, with a single hand resting on the bannister, though it was less an effort to give the Duke his full attention than an effort to avoid watching the dance that should still be his. “Perhaps you’d like a seat downstairs instead of standing up here?”

The Duke shook his head, attention fixed in front of him and avoiding meeting Yixing in the eye. Of course, Yixing thought to himself, he obviously likes the new favourite much more than me. “Shall I send for anything, then? A bottle of wine?” he asked, wishing his tone didn’t sound so bitter.

Another shake of the head, “No, nothing. I just want to stand up here with you for a while,” the Duke stated simply, stature relaxing as he leaned forwards to place his hands on the railing.

Yixing could feel every uneven blemish on the bannister as his fingers tightened around it. He looked down at it to find it a hair-width away from the Duke’s and he pulled away quickly at the creeping heat. Hands balling into fists, he stuffed them under his arms to keep from fidgeting, not caring that he might look strange; it was dark and the Duke seemed to not care about paying him any attention tonight. He forced himself to turn to watch the performance below, berating himself every time his gaze started to shift to the side to catch a glimpse of the Duke, deathly still.

Yixing was almost thankful for the performance music as the silence between he and the Duke was almost deafening. Yixing stood with his hands tucked away anxiously, annoyed that the Duke was cool and unfazed to Yixing’s discomfort. “As usual,” the courtesan muttered to himself as he snuck a glance again.

As the performance counted down to its last moves, Yixing was sure he would never be able to unwind himself from the tension that strained through all his muscles. As the last note reverberated through the quiet hall, the Duke finally moved from his stone position. Every part of Yixing’s body protested as he turned dutifully to face the Duke, jaw clenched as he urged himself to calm down to no avail.

The Duke smiled softly at Yixing, hands held behind his back once more. The courtesan’s jaw clenched as he continued to repeat calming mantras in his head, focusing his eyes on the bump on the Duke’s neck that bobbed in a swallow instead of the Duke’s bright eyes.

“Could I have a moment of your time tomorrow?” the Duke whispered, barely audible over the applause downstairs.

Yixing quirked an eyebrow up involuntarily. It was strange that the Duke was being so polite; since when did the Duke ask permission from a lowly courtesan like Yixing? The courtesan had never been consulted on anything the Duke had done thus far.

Yixing’s gaze travelled up to the Duke’s brown eyes, glistening with anticipation that made the courtesan uneasy as he nodded slowly. He didn’t like how the smile on the Duke’s face seemed to widen just a little, eyes just a little brighter as he nodded his departure.

Rather, he didn’t like how his own lips curled into a smile that he couldn’t put away.

The brisk wind that hit Yifan as he stepped out The Star was refreshing and he let out a long sigh, watching his breath cloud in the cold. He could feel his heart pounding in his head and it didn’t help that his cheeks were starting to hurt with his seemingly never ending grin.

The corners of his lips dropped immediately thought when he noticed Minseok leaning on a concrete wall with a stern look across his delicate features. Yifan wondered momentarily when the other manservant he had had waiting for him outside had been replaced by Minseok. Taking a deep breath, he started towards Minseok who forwent the usual greetings, not even bothering to mask his mood and continuing to lean on the wall with his arms crossed.

“I went to your room to let you know that Ah Mei, your fiancé, arrived back at her home safely,” he said flatly, pausing dramatically, “But of course you weren’t there.”

Yifan’s teeth ground together, falling prey to Minseok’s guilt trip. “How did you know I would be here?”

Minseok only rolled his eyes, “Wild guess, I suppose,” he scowled with sarcasm thick in his voice.

“Pretty good guess, then,” Yifan returned, chancing a chuckle; if Minseok was using sarcasm with him again, the manservant must have forgiven his Duke at least a little.

Minseok stared back at Yifan with defeated disbelief before sighing and shaking his head, “I sincerely hope you know what you’re doing, My Lord,” he added emphatically.

Yifan was too glad that Minseok was talking to him again that he let the mocking tone slide. “As do I,” Yifan replied, “But if you could, just… avoiding telling Mother about, you know…” he trailed off, motioning vaguely behind him in the direction of The Star.

The manservant groaned as though he knew what Yifan was planning, “If I get beheaded for keeping secrets from your mother, I hope it happens after I get to watch her kill you first.”

A/N: Wow, really sorry about how long this took. Work life kinda just took over everything. Why is this fic so long. I was aiming for like 15 chapters when I first started orz why are these two taking so long to just get together omg. *slaps fanxing.

*slaps self.

As usual, comments are most welcome! =)

Date: 2015-01-20 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] light-kira1.livejournal.com
It's an update! ♥♥♥♥
I don't know, I think my comments might be getting repetetive for this hahahaha
I mean, I don't need to tell you anymore that I love reading your chapters, and I think I've said often enough how frustrating Fanxing can be when they are both in denial.
Even though I loved the little Yixing jealousy snippet, I think my favourite part of this chapter was Ah Mei. Now I'm pretty sure she's onto Yifan's trail. It sadly doesn't make me pity her less, though it makes me hope she'll come to terms with it. The way she is pushing Yifan towards Yixing, and I bet she noticed there was no feeling behind that kiss.
Actually, yes, Yifan, just listen to Ah Mei already and man up!
I would get my hopes up that sometime soon Yifan and Yixing will finally get over their denial, but both have proven to be incredibly renitent on so many occasions already, so I will be very, very cautious in getting my hopes up. To like waist-high perhaps, not further.

Date: 2015-01-20 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anya-azrael.livejournal.com

it was well worht the wait...I think me and Minseok are both tired of Fan's shit omg plese just buy him and love him alread orz

Date: 2015-01-21 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shade-of-kim.livejournal.com
assuming that ah mei doesn't have any hidden agenda, i think that she and yifan make a pretty good BFFs and all that jazz. she's sweet, and thankfully doesn't seem to be that much infatuated with yifan.

also, yes! is this the big movement that we have been waiting for, for so long? is it? because, well then, finally! i hope that both would finally be pushed towards the right direction, whatever that direction is. and you know what, i'll even take if someone would actually literally push them together or whatever. that's how anxious i am with these two lol.

Date: 2015-01-25 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pika-chan92.livejournal.com
Oh, Duke looks like he finally knows what he wants from Yixing. Maybe? Hope so? :D
Again, A Mei is too nice for her own good. And what was that kiss?
Minseok is baaaack~! His last line made me chuckle.
But there is too little of Luhan. Where the kid is? Probabbly running around with some small errands, eh...

Date: 2015-01-27 02:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] splickerflicker.livejournal.com


im excited to finally see fanxing togetherrrrrrr...........(at least on this fic..........wow......that hurt)

Date: 2015-02-01 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xingtae.livejournal.com

Smooth Ah Mei, very smooth xD Now she absolutely knows that the Duke is absolutely and completely smitten by Yixing xD The kiss-test was a good idea, a clever girl she is.

And omg did Yifan and Yixing just have sex like nothing happened and are super happy because of that I mean how big of idiots do you guys have to be JUST ADMIT YOUR LOVE ALREADY

Date: 2015-02-24 06:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] myagnae7.livejournal.com
helloooo i finally have time out of my burrow of dullness because of the lack of fanxing in the world *sobs*

Anyways... I knew I would somehow like this Ah Mei gurl X} She kissed him but aint even mad. I bet she knew the duke is gay as ever haha (omg sorry i just want to insult WYF lel)

I seeeee a brighter future ahead for fanxing yay! 8} But am worried something bad is going to happen still hmmmmmmmmmmm dont u dare jayci <.
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